$11M COVID-19 Fraud Probe says Toronto Man Took Money to India

A Toronto bureaucrat was fired following a fraud probe concerning $11M in COVID-19 funds. The probe’s court documents state that Sanjay Madan took tens of thousands of dollars to India. According to court documents, Madan worked as a computer specialist in Toronto for the Ontario government prior to allegedly flying to India together with tens of thousands of dollars in cash after he was confronted about the missing money.

Chain of Events

In November 2020, Sanjay Madan was terminated from his job at the Ministry of Education in Toronto which nets him $176,608 a year. His lawyer Christopher Du Vernet says that he withdrew $80,000 from his CIBC account in August and then flew to India in September. He holds both Canadian and Indian citizenship as well as permanent residency status in Panama. Panama has no extradition treaty with Canada and is a known tax haven. This is not all. Government lawyers allege that Madan also gave huge amounts of cash to relatives from India who visited him in September. Those relatives are alleged to have also taken money with them. The province alleged in their factum that the timings of the enormous cash withdrawals and the cash runs to India point to the possibility that Madan was shipping money offshore to avoid seizure and detection.

During a cross-examination carried out by government lawyers for the civil action to get back the alleged missing funds from the Support for Families program, Madan admitted that he personally transported between $21,000 to $30,000 Canadian to India and left the cash with relatives. The Support for Families program was the province’s response to the COVID-19 crisis which gives parents $200 for each child below the age of 12 and $250 for child and youth up to 21 years of age that are special needs. The fund is to help offset pandemic-related education expenses.

While Madan was under suspension at the start of the investigation, he insisted that his wife and family were not involved. He was the information technology leader for the Support for Families program which is worth $378 million. After he was fired, his wife Shalini Madan was also fired from her job as manager of E-Ministries Support at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services in Toronto in which she used to make $132,513 a year. Their sons Ujjawal Madan and Chinmaya Madan both used to work for lower-level government IT jobs but both left voluntarily during summer 2020.

Huge Fraud Case is Still Ongoing

Documents filed with the Ontario Superior Court by the government alleges that some or all of the members of the Madan family as well as associate Vidhan Singh executed a fraud funneling $11 million to hundreds of TD and Bank of Montreal Accounts. These allegations are not yet proven in court.  Calls and emails made to the accused for comments in relation to the fraud remain unreturned. No criminal charges have been laid yet although 7 detectives from the Ontario Provincial Police anti-rackets squad are investigating what happened. The family has their passports and are allowed to travel.

There is an injunction to freeze the family’s assets including the more than $1M profits for selling a house in September, their 6 condominiums in Toronto, and a 7-bedroom 7-bathroom house in New York. The family attest that their sons are making their own money working from home and are attending post-graduate studies.

Suspected fraud whether it be at home or in the workplace, should be reported for proper investigations to take place. If you’re suspicious about some fraud that you think may be going on, do not hesitate to contact the authorities. For personal issues, you can avail of our private investigation services for help. Contact us now!

Your Guide to Avoid Online Scams in 2021

A new year is a time for new beginnings, but unfortunately, it is also a new year for fraudsters to ramp up their cybercrime acts and commit online scams. Senior officials from top scam detection and cybersecurity agencies in Canada have banded together to warn Canadians about an impending rise in online scams especially for the first part of 2021.

Warnings Issued

Senior officials added that reports from victims are likely to go down as people are beginning to take further precautions, but this does not mean that the cases will go down as well.

CAFC or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre senior intelligence analyst Jeff Thomson shared in an interview that was an increase in 2020 scam reporting and that the schemes ranged from soliciting social security information, job scams, to merchandise scams. He adds that they expect this trend to continue in 2021, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a huge factor for the proliferation of online scams.

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security head Scott Jones agrees with the above, saying that fraudsters are making use of what’s hot in the news to sway people’s emotion. Wisth more people looking for jobs, fake job scams and fake job websites are bound to increase.

What Scams to Expect?

Thomson said that phishing scam emails are the most prolific from either spoofed email accounts or compromised email accounts. He warns that any suspicious emails should be avoided even if it seems to be coming from someone you know.

Another expected scam is vaccine fraud for when vaccines become more available. There may be people trying to see or guarantee access to them for a fee.

In view of this, the CAFC issued a warning about private companies who may try to sell fraudulent products promising to cure or prevent COVID-19 as well as home vaccination kits. Some COVID-19 emails also contain malicious attachments that trick people into revealing their financial details and other personal information.

Avoid Scams in 3 Steps: Recognize, Reject, Report

Thomson emphasizes that scammers will use any avenue possible to execute scams. They can use text messages, emails, phone calls, social media, romance or dating sites, classified ads, and so on. He adds that people should recognize that anyone can receive these solicitations and that rejecting requests like this is fine. He further says that being too polite or getting intimidated by urgent or high-pressure sales tactics and requests can make you more vulnerable to scams. It is best to scrutinize requests and refrain from responding impulsively.

Better and Safer Online Behavior from Canadians

Jones shared that the Cyber Security Centre focuses on easy-to-understand awareness campaigns that are straight to the point, citing their commercial on listening to one’s voice of reason as one of their most effective campaigns because it goes back to the basic and simple thing that anybody can do. Other things that work include changing passwords frequently, practicing safe online habits, and using two-factor authentication. They plan to release a cybersecurity guide for small and medium-sized businesses as part of their 2021 campaign as well as teaching children cyber hygiene.

Thomson also shares that Canadians are more likely to report scams after their awareness campaigns in 2020. He adds that the more people report, the more they can be aware of new scams and the earlier they can issue the necessary warnings.

Looking for ways to avoid COVID-19 related scams and other online scams? Familiarize yourself with new scams at our fraud prevention blog! If you’ve been targeted for a scam and worried about your privacy, contact us so we can discuss possible solutions for you using our private investigation services.

 

Anti-Fraud Centre Issues Warning for Holiday Scams Targeting Canadians

Fraudsters and scammers do not rest during the holidays and so officials of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are working with the police overtime to warn Canadians about the 12 common types of holiday fraud in Canada.

Fraud Charities

This is the season for giving and the season for fake charities that solicit help for an organization that does not exist. People are easier to get money from during the holidays and often do not check if charities are legitimate.

Fake Ads for Online Shopping

Some ads post fake products but some ads don’t even have products at all. Nothing will be delivered to you after payment and by then it is way past the deadline for refunds. The ‘store’ can also just claim that your purchase was lost by the courier due to the holiday rush.

Romance Scams

People are more emotionally vulnerable around the holidays and so romance scammers use the holidays to their full advantage. Watch out for people on dating sites who use the holidays to indirectly ask for money by using a sob story.

Raffle Winning Notifications

You cannot win in something that you did not join. That is the first tell-tale sign for this scam. Next is that the fraudsters will ask you to deposit a small amount as a claiming fee for your prize. There is no prize and the personal data that you provided will probably get compromised too.

Phishing Texts and Emails

These may come in the guise of a promo, an ad, or a warning; all wanting you to follow a link and input your details where they can be stolen.

Secret Santa Scam

This comes as a gift exchange opportunity on social media that says you can get many gifts by sponsoring one. Not only does this gain access to your sensitive information but oftentimes, only those at the top are the ones benefiting as far as gifts go.

Fake Merchandise

They’re usually easy to spot with their flashy ads featuring huge discounts that got links to shady websites.

Shady Goods and Services

It is best to exercise caution when buying and selling online, especially when there are offers that seem too good to be true. Some buyers may not pay you or attempt to get your personal information to prove that you’re ‘real’.

Gift Card

Gift cards are an easy way to give a gift but some gift cards may be fake or already used and it will be too late to do anything once found out.

Shocking Emergency

You’ll be called on a fake emergency stating that your loved one is hurt and you must supply their personal details. Another version may ask you for money and your personal details as well.

Identity Fraud

Due to plenty of online shopping and the many crafty ways that scammers can access your personal data, your identity may be used for shady activities. It is best to keep tabs of your credit score and your mail in case you get bills for things you did not purchase or use.

Identity Theft

Your identity can be easily stolen just by a few pieces of information about you such as your social security number, your card, etc. Never share personal information and passwords with anyone.

We hope that with this summary of common holiday scams, you are now better equipped to protect yourself. If you suspect that your details may have been compromised, we can help you fix that and avoid fraud. Contact us today!

 

34% of Canadians Have Fallen Victim to Fraud in 2020

Fraud has become increasingly difficult to avoid these days. According to the 2020 Fraud Survey by CPA Canada, with better access to technology, it seems that we are falling victim to fraud due to unsafe and outdated techniques that are used to protect personal information and other sensitive data.

Fraud in Canada for 2020 and 2019

This year, 5% of Canadians shared that they have been subjected to online fraud, 18% say they are victims of credit card fraud, and 34% admitted to experiencing fraud personally. 45,000 Canadians fell victim to fraud in 2019 according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Together, they lost $96 million but it seems like people have not learned from this and are still using the same outdated and unsafe techniques to protect their data this year. Risk advisor Claudiu Popa of Informatica says that fraud figures are still likely to rise before the year ends.

The survey says that 74% of Canadians bank online and have bought items from web-based retailers in 2019 without using the most secure systems and methods, thereby increasing their risk especially that they are the same group who are heavy users of social media. People who post their activities and details online are highly susceptible to being taken advantage of by fraudsters. More so, fraudsters now know how to infiltrate laptops, smart TVs, home security cameras, and smart locks with just a few key information that can be phished online.

Changes in Vigilance?

54% of Canadians are learning more about fraud from news and reports and are trying more ways to protect themselves while 47% say that they are getting their fraud prevention education from their financial institution. These same people are saying that they are still having trouble recognizing fraud because so many attempts at fraud resemble legitimate communication such as in the case of phishing emails and calls. Take for instance CRA scam calls, most people who get a fake call from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency get so scared and will blurt out their personal details before they realize what is happening. Note too that fraudsters typically target those who are isolated.

Tips to Prevent Fraud

Below are some ways that you can use to minimize the chances of you becoming a victim of fraud.

  • Make sure to create better passwords. Better passwords don’t have to mean longer passwords. You can choose short passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that will be difficult to figure out for someone. It is best to have different passwords for different websites and apps as well.
  • Make it a habit to review your transactions. By checking your banking and credit card transactions frequently, you can catch any questionable entry as soon as it appears.
  • Note your credit score. Changes in your credit score could be an indication that your personal details have been used for fraud.
  • Safeguard your personal documents. This means shredding them if no longer needed. This will prevent your personal details from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Stay vigilant at all times. You can do this by screening your calls and texts. Do not give out personal information via text or call more so if the call was initiated by someone other than you.

With 2020 coming to an end and online transactions becoming more in use as we cope with quarantine restrictions, let us all do our best to not become a part of the fraud statistics. Follow our fraud prevention blog and contact us if you need our private investigation services for fraud prevention or for uncovering workplace and WSIB fraud.

 

Prevent Employee Fraud and Theft with These 8 Tips

Have you ever been the victim of employee fraud or theft? If so, you are not alone. A significant percentage of business revenue is lost yearly to employee theft. This loss is more significant in smaller organizations and should be addressed as soon as possible to mitigate losses. A working environment that discourages fraud and theft is key, and can easily be achieved by following the 8 tips below:

Promote a Positive Work Environment

When you create a positive work environment, it helps to encourage your employees to act in the best interest of your business and to follow established procedures and policies. This can be achieved by having clear organizational structure, written job descriptions, open lines of communication between employees and management, positive employee recognition, comprehensive procedures and policies, and fair employment practices.

Apply Internal Controls

Internal controls are indicators that measure and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance with laws and regulations, operations, accurate financial reporting, and safeguarding of assets. To truly be effective, the procedures and policies should address authorization controls, access controls, and separation of duties.

Employ Honest People

This is of course something that is easier said than done but you need to try because dishonest employees will find ways to go around your carefully laid out internal controls and sabotage your efforts to maintain a positive work environment. It is nearly impossible to know which potential employees will be dishonest but a quick look at each potential hire’s background can help you weed out the bad apples.

Go for a pre-employment background check and be sure that it will check for the following:

  • Employment verification of reasons for leaving the previous job, what position was held, and length of employment.
  • Education verification for degrees and/or certifications from accredited institutions
  • Driver’s license for serious or numerous violations.
  • Civil history for lawsuits involving fraud, restraining orders, and collections.
  • Criminal history for crimes involving fraud, violence, and theft.

Educate and Train Your Employees

Informing your employees about your internal controls to deter and detect fraud, the procedures and policies that are in place for fraud, your organizations ethics policies and code of conduct, plus how someone will be disciplined if caught violating any of these is a good extra measure for fraud prevention.

Employees should be given annual training on the topics above as well as informed of what is considered as fraudulent behaviour and should be asked to sign an acknowledgement after each training session. This can be very useful in court and in preventing any legal action in the first place.

Have an Anonymous Reporting System

A whistleblower program is a recommended reporting system that vendors, customers, and employees can use to report violations of procedures and policies anonymously.

Whenever possible, encourage and promote the use of the reporting system and be sure to take reports seriously. Every report should be investigated thoroughly to ensure this tip’s success.

Frequently Perform Audits (Both Regular and Irregular Audits)

Unannounced random audits are more effective than regular scheduled ones for identifying new fraud vulnerabilities and figuring out if existing controls are working as they should. This also makes possible wrongdoers uneasy about committing any fraud.

Investigate All Incidents

No matter how small or how big a report is, make sure that a prompt and thorough investigation is performed to ascertain if fraud really did occur or if there was any policy or procedure violation. Doing so will mitigate your losses in case of a real threat.

Set A Good Example

Business owners and senior management must lead by example and must be held to the same accountability as employees are regardless of position. This allows employees to see that procedures and policies are indeed followed to the last letter and they’d be less tempted to commit fraud.

Protect Yourself by Learning the Signs of Identity Theft

Almost everyone has heard about cases of identity theft. The disturbing thing is that you may hear more instances of it in the coming weeks as criminals and fraudsters are getting more creative in order to cheat honest people out of their hard-earned money in this trying time. Just a quick look at news about fraud and you’ll see cases of government program abuse, forgery, and financial fraud.

Why Fraudsters Commit Identity Theft

A huge chunk of fraud cases starts with identity theft. The fraudsters steal personal information and use that information to commit more crimes such as forgery, more fraud, and abuse of government programs. The fraudsters often only need a small amount of information such as one’s birthdate and name to steal an identity and commit crimes using the stolen identity.

Banks are very much aware of the various crimes related to identity theft and have security systems in place. They hire experts that comb through data in order to protect their customers from financial fraud. They often work with government agencies to educate consumers against fraud so that they can minimize their chances of being victims. However, this is not enough. Below are ways to know if your identity has been compromised.

Signs of Identity Theft to Watch Out For

Below are the common signs of identity theft:

  • You’ve received a credit card application mail in your address although you haven’t applied for one.
  • You were contacted by a creditor regarding a credit card application that you did not do.
  • You’ve received bills or credit card statements for accounts that you did not apply for.
  • You’ve stopped receiving credit card statements via your mail although you are not enrolled in paperless billing.
  • You’ve been contacted by a creditor or a collection agency regarding a loan or account that you do not remember you have.

Best Practices for Victims of Identity Theft in Canada

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or have experienced the signs of identity theft described above, be sure to do the following as soon as possible:

  • Contact your credit card issuer or bank right away. This step will minimize the effects of fraud in your account as the bank will usually cancel the card and investigate possible fraudulent transactions to reverse purchases or expenses that are proven not to be yours.
  • Contact credit reporting agencies in Canada such as TransUnion Canada and Equifax Canada so that you can request for a copy of your credit report. You can report fraudulent information that you find this way. You can also request a fraud alert on your credit files so that nobody can apply for a credit card or take out a loan in your name.
  • Contact government agencies and organizations where you think your stolen data might be used by the fraudster. Human Resources Development Canada is a good place to start if you are concerned that someone might use your Social Insurance Number to get government services.
  • Contact the local police so that you can file a report.

If you are concerned about being a possible victim of identity theft and want to know more about how you can protect yourself from fraud or seek information on whether your information may have been used by fraudsters, contact us and our private investigators will be happy to assist you.

 

Brampton Man Lost Life Savings After Scam

A man from Ontario was left with just $9 after he was scammed of his life savings which are worth more than $8,200. Ganesh Khatry of Brampton Ontario was tricked into handing over his savings to scammers. He has been saving since he moved to Canada from Nepal 3 years ago in search of a better future.

Savings Gone

Khatry got a job at his local Walmart where he worked in shifts for years to pay his rent and build his savings. A family friend, Eliza Rizal, spoke to CTV News Toronto because Khatry does not speak fluent English. According to the family friend, Khatry received a call from someone claiming to be the Brampton Police on October 1. He was told that his bank accounts and his social insurance number were compromised, and he was worried that he would lose all his savings. He was told by the fraudsters that his compromised information may have been used to open multiple bank accounts used as avenues for money laundering and drug trafficking. Furthermore, he was told that withdrawing all his money and depositing it in a Bitcoin account will keep it safe.

Khatry was confused about the above and asked if he could talk to his friend but the caller insisted that since fraud was discovered involving his bank accounts and social insurance number, that it would be a mistake to tell anyone because it would compromise his safety. Khatry then proceeded to withdraw all his money from his two bank accounts, withdrawing about $4,000 from each account to deposit it to a Bitcoin machine believing that by doing so, his money will be safeguarded until the fake police can provide him with a new social insurance card the following day. Khatry realized that he was scammed the following morning.

Authorities Informed

After realizing what happened, Khatry immediately contacted Peel Regional Police but there was nothing law enforcement could do except tell him that his money was already gone. Note that money sent via cryptocurrency is nearly impossible to trace. Peel Regional Police spokesperson says that they are currently investigating the case with the help of their Fraud Bureau.

Lasting Trauma

Rizal shares that Khatry has barely left his room since he was scammed and he’s currently being supported financially by his friends, adding that Khatry is depressed and feels ashamed about falling for a scam.

Rizal started a GoFundMe page for Khatry to help him raise part of the funds that he has lost. She says that they hope to help him raise money to help him overcome what happened more so that falling for a scam is never the victim’s fault and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Avoid Bitcoin Scams

Peel Regional Police issued a warning in June to warn people about the surge in Bitcoin scams wherein fraudsters identify themselves as police officers to fool more victims. The police say that fraudsters can manipulate technology these days to make it seem like the phone call is from the actual government agency being mimicked and it is easy for anyone to fall victim to these manipulations.

Avoiding Bitcoin scams can be challenging because the people behind them take advantage of fear and misdirection to make victims do what they want. It is important to keep yourself updated about common scams and try to exercise doubt when you receive calls or warnings claiming to be from the authorities. If you think that your data may have been compromised, you can contact us at Haywood Hunt to find out how you can protect yourself and know which of our private investigation services could be beneficial for you.

Romance Scam Sees Ontario Woman Put Life Savings into Bitcoin Machine

With most people stuck at home and only have the internet for companionship, more and more individuals are falling for investment scams and romance scams. A woman from York region was targeted for a romance scam and she ended up putting thousands of dollars in a Bitcoin machine believing that she was sending the funds to her true love, a man she has not yet met in person.

Ignoring Red Flags Lead to No Good

Sgt. Andy Pattenden of York Police told CTV News Toronto that the victim felt that something was wrong each time that she was sending more money, but she was compelled to send more until she lost all her life savings.

York Regional Police shared that they’ve seen a spike in the cases of reported romance scams and suspect that people having to stay at home and isolate has a lot to do with it.

More people are vulnerable to romance scams now because scammers typically target victims via online means such as dating websites, e-mails, and social media. Pattenden added that COVID-19 and more time spent indoors are linked factors as to why there is a rise in cases.

Romance Scams are Anything But Romantic

Romance Scams are usually run out of internet boiler rooms by an individual or a group of people who are working on several possible victims at a time. They create trust and then proceed to confess their love for someone quite quickly and then invent a situation to justify asking their victim for money.

The fraud department shares that criminals behind romance scams are really good at creating a persona that can make someone fall in love with it. They carefully curate fake photos, make up a fake name, use fake contact information, and lure with a fake personality. Note that this is the same strategy used by investment scam artists, Pattenden adds.

Different Scams, Same Modus

The Credit Counselling Society of Toronto shared that more people are facing financial difficulty now as the CERB and related government assistance programs are ending just as interest deferment programs on mortgages and credit cards are ending as well. The schemes that are being used by investment scam artists and romance scam fraudsters usually involved opportunities that sound like something that cannot be passed up especially by someone who is having some financial difficulty.

What makes these scams particularly difficult solve for law enforcement is that they often ask that the money should be sent using cryptocurrency. Money that passes through any kind of cryptocurrency is near impossible to trace. It’s just gone.

Warning for Everyone

It is best to not reply to text messages and/or emails that promise money or those that are asking for your financial details or banking information. If you have friends or family who might need help, such situations can be discussed beforehand to have a way of proving that the person at the other end is the right person. You may share this article with family and friends who are largely alone during this pandemic to let them know about ongoing scams and prevent them from falling victim to fraud.

Do you know someone who might have been targeted for an investment scam or a romance scam? We can help them be more secure online with the use of our private investigation services. Contact us today to talk about what services we may be able to help you with fraud prevention.

 

How to Protect Yourself from Mortgage Fraud in Canada

Mortgage fraud and title fraud are the most devastating types of real estate fraud in Canada. Although real estate fraud in general hurts homeowners, victims of mortgage fraud and title fraud can lose the only home they have and end up homeless.

What is the Difference Between Mortgage Fraud and Title Fraud?

Title fraud involves someone masquerading as the homeowner to sell the home or get a mortgage loan from the home. Mortgage fraud involves intentionally submitting inaccurate, incomplete, or fraudulent information to the lender to get approved for a mortgage that the homeowner does not qualify for. In most cases of mortgage fraud, there is usually a claim for a higher income, use of falsified appraisal of the property, or fake identifications. These can be discovered by counterchecking submitted documents for veracity.

Is Mortgage Fraud a Big Problem in Canada?

Mortgage fraud affects lending institutions and the banking industry profoundly. The homeowner who got approved for a mortgage that they cannot truly afford also stand to lose their home with just a minor financial mishap in the future. This is why organizations that are involved in real estate, the banking industry, and the police take mortgage fraud seriously. Unfortunately, there is no central agency that records incidences of mortgage fraud and those that discover it seldom report it; hence, there is no real statistical data that can gauge how prevalent is mortgage fraud in Canada.

Are Banks Working to Prevent Real Estate Fraud?

Banks have plenty of measures in place to identify and prevent cases of real estate fraud. They work with private investigators, real estate task forces, law enforcement, as well as their own security teams to catch criminals and develop better ways to protect against mortgage fraud and other types of real estate fraud. More so, the Canadian Bankers Association work with lenders, the legal profession, and other organizations to continually make changes to deter those who may be inclined to commit real estate fraud.

Protect Yourself from Mortgage Fraud

Fraudsters will take advantage of any weakness to commit fraud. As an individual, you must report suspicious activities and actively protect your personal data to avoid it getting used for fraud. If you own your home and want to prevent mortgage fraud and title fraud, then be sure to observe the following measures:

  • Refrain from giving out personal data via phone or email especially if you did not initiate contact with the people asking for your details.
  • Make sure all bills arrive on time and are not intercepted by identity thieves.
  • Safeguard your mail. Update addresses when moving to another place and do not leave mail in the mailbox.
  • Protect items with personal information such as phones, laptops, tablets, packages, memory cards, and the like. If throwing them out because they are no longer of use, be sure that important data are no longer readable or are already erased.
  • Keep your Social Insurance Number Card in a safe place. Do not use your SIN unless necessary.

What to Do If Your Business Fell Victim to Mortgage Fraud?

Fraud can still take place even when institutions and individuals are careful with their data. The first thing to do upon discovery of fraud is to gather all information that you can related to it. Note that the law has many ways to help you recoup losses if mortgage fraud is proven. If you need help proving mortgage fraud, it might be best to contact private investigators. Modern private investigation services use technology to trace possible fraud and provide you with information that can be used as proof in court.

 

The 3 Most Common Types of Identity Theft

Identity fraud and identity theft are common occurrences these days. They happen when someone obtains and uses someone else’s personal data in a fraudulent or deceitful manner for economic gain or other reasons. The problem is becoming even more prevalent because of misinformation online and the lack of response from appropriate agencies to fix it.

The categories of identity theft include:

  • Account takeover fraud
  • Business or commercial identity theft
  • Criminal identity theft
  • Identity cloning
  • Medical identity theft
  • New account fraud

For this write-up, we will focus on just the 3 most common types of identity theft because each type above has numerous subtypes and may need an entire book to cover everything. It is important to spread awareness about the common types of identity theft because not only can they result in financial loss, some examples can really destroy lives for the long-term.

Account Takeover Fraud

The most common account takeover fraud is financial identity theft wherein the criminal uses another person’s account information such as bank account details to obtain services and products. It can also mean withdrawing money from a person’s bank account. Oftentimes, perpetrators get the data from online sources such as by phishing or can be offline sources such as lifted from purses or wallets, the mail, the phone, or even by going through the trash. Most of the time, the victim is the first person to notice discrepancies such as additional charges on a credit card, unauthorized withdrawals on a bank account, or having a few bounced checks. Oftentimes, perpetrators pose as the victim to pull off this type of identity theft.

Business or Commercial Identity Theft

Using another person’s name or business details to get products and services fall under business identity theft or commercial identity theft. The usual way this is done is by using a company’s or an individual’s social security number. Some numbers that are readily available in dumpsters, public records, and the like may also be used to commit this type of identity theft. In a lot of cases, business identity theft is an inside job or committed by ex-employees or current staff. Most victims of business identity only became aware of the crime after significant losses or until when someone notices discrepancies in the records. The reason why businesses can often lose large amounts of money to this type of identity theft is because this can go on for years without anyone noticing.

New Account Fraud                      

New account fraud is when someone else uses another person’s details and good credit standing to create a new fake account to obtain products and services. This can be done by creating a new cell phone, new credit card, or new utility bill account using the stolen details of another person. The thief will use another mailing address so the real person behind the stolen identity will not know about the fraud until much later when there’s already been a lot of debt under their name or SSN or when they get turned down from credit application because of bad debts that they know nothing about.

Were you a victim of identity fraud? Do you know that private investigators can help you uncover the people behind it as well as check for possible breaches in your privacy to prevent it from occurring again? Contact us at Haywood Hunt to know more about identity fraud prevention and what actions you can take against it!